My original post Agent or No Agent? pondered the decision of whether it would be the right way to go forward. After spending ample time on the subject and doing extensive research, i feel i have made my mind up … finally.
One of the questions that kept creeping back up to me was, well why not? Do i have a complete understanding of the publishing world? … no. I felt that i have got nothing to lose and everything to gain by following this path. Do you all agree?
Agents have extensive knowledge both in the publishing world and the contractual business side of writing. And surely, they will push for a bigger better contract as this means they too reap the rewards? Now, i feel like i need to emphasise that i am not naive, i comprehend how hard it is to make it out of the ‘slush pile’ (or ‘talent pool’ as one agent called it, which i rather like) and make it onto an agent’s books. But i figured if i gave it my all and tried and failed then at least in my own head i know i actually had a go.
And besides … agents aren’t the only way to go. There is still approaching publishers directly, some digital only publishers happily accept manuscripts for approval and of course there is always self publishing, which is becoming much more easier and widely accepted especially with the Amazon program.
So … what have i actually done with regards to finding an agent? Well using my bulky and rather dusty (i regretfully admit) Writers & Artists Yearbook 2013, i went through the entire list of agents and wrote down which agency specialise in YA fiction or at least accept it. With that list, i then went through all of their websites to read their guidelines and their approach. Their website had to stand out to me and i had to agree with their methods, because lets face it, it will be a mutual working relationship. They are not just doing me a favor, i will be needing someone who best suits me too.
There were some agencies that just didn’t grab me at all and had a rather limited website. These were stricken from the list straight away. The more interesting and Wow! looking websites made it onto a short list and i’ve tried to number them in order of priority. It’s strange, some agencies encouraged you to send your manuscript off to a number of other agents at the same time whereas some stated they’d rather you didn’t. All have different expectations with regards to send in just your first chapter, first three, first 10,000 words and then some prefer Times New Roman font whilst others opted for Arial. Some wanted double spacing in between lines, some didn’t care.
It’s a lot to take in, especially when some agencies can take up to three months to get back to you. It is a long time to wait, especially if you are just going to be rejected anyway. What i needed was a plan.
My plan therefore is to send my chapters in order of my priority list (following their guidelines of course) and use the time whist waiting to fully edit my manuscript. It is befittingly NaNoWriMo in November (National Novel Writing Month) where many authors join in the fun to try and get 30,000 words of a novel written. Sadly, i feel i cannot take part. I need to give all of my attention to The Black Petal, but i will gladly and secretly change the brief. Instead of writing 30,000 words in November, i will plan to have my entire manuscript fully edited and finished in that time.
If i get rejected and have finished my manuscript and am waiting to here back from another agency, i will wisely use this time to plan and research book 2 in the trilogy. It is always best to be ahead.
Have you got any plans for NaNoWriMo? Be sure to let me know, and of course WISH ME LUCK with my search for an agent!